Why I write (2): a modern sense of community 

I received an email yesterday that made me cry. 

Big sobbing, grateful tears. 

It arrived completely out of the blue at a low moment. 

The miseries had taken hold.

From a sender I didn’t recognise, it would have been easy to dismiss the mail as spam without reading on. 

Thankfully I gave it a cursory glance. 

Mr X stumbled upon my blog via Twitter and felt compelled to write to me about our mutual love of journalising life. 

He has kept a secret diary for years, but doesn’t publish it. 

His passion for doing so along with some kind, eloquent words about my own ramblings touched me beyond belief. 

It is rare for someone to go so out of their way to privately encourage or praise a complete stranger. 

In my world anyway.

And it has made me realise that I need to get out there do it more, rather than just meaning to, or indeed hoping desperately that one day that it happens to me.

“I think you are a wonderful writer. I’m in constant awe of people who are able to communicate and connect so truthfully and courageously. There’s lyrical poetry in the way you write of personal insecurities, anxieties, of heart-wrenching and profound pain, that touched me deeply – and on several counts feel I could identify with.”

I think I need to stick this small extract on my fridge or something. 

It made me smile. 

But what a tortured soul I am! 

Truth be told, I’ve been struggling terribly with my writing recently – feeling directionless, drifting with the tide – bored even. 

I’m not sure what my short to medium term goal is. 

Or is it the grind of life I’m struggling with? 

Somewhere along the line the two became an inseparable balancing act.

I tell myself that I’m frustrated because I know the right words are locked inside, I just can’t get them out. 

I try writing free flow. 

The movie in my mind just doesn’t seem to be translating into black and white on the screen. 

All I can see is the blood, sweat and tears staining my desk.

Is this what they call writer’s block? 

Or is it just an acquiescence that I will never make a masterpiece and therefore what’s the point?

Yes, there’s everything in between to consider. There have been achievements beyond my wildest dreams.

Opportunities and invitations do roll in. For that I’m delighted. I get to have fun and write about it for a living. No boss. My own take on things. I thought that this would be a highlight. But, yet still I don’t feel satisfied. 

The craving to be fictionally creative never stops niggling away.

There are too many distractions right now really. The stop-start approach is no good. But distractions, and even blogging, all too easily shroud my excuses. My fear of failure. Perhaps if I were braver, I would say “no” to my bulging inbox. Go away, this is what I want to do and so this is what I’m doing. 

Make time. 

They say.

On countdown until the birth of my second child, I feel pressure to make the most of already scarce, lucid time. Before my imagination is sapped, albeit temporarily and gladly in favour of my newborn. I’m anxious. About everything. 

I look at the email again. 

But is it not this tortured soul who has casually narrated the story so far? 

Mr X thinks so. 

Would the cure for eternal happiness zap my creative drive? 

Probably. 

Ironically, perhaps this is why I write.

Whilst being introspective is a nightmare; pouring it all out is a relief.

Thanks to this strange modern online community, I find some comfort in recognising this. 

And so I bob along having this black week. The weather has been crap. Hormones are raging. I’ve submitted a fiction manuscript that I know in my heart of hearts will bounce. 

Not because it’s bad; but because others are so much better. 

I’m basically bored. 

But what can I do but carry on? 

Try my best. To enjoy it. If I can.

Thank you for the feedback Mr X, you’ve make it all feel a bit more worthwhile. 

This week anyway.

Muddled Manuscript
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20 thoughts on “Why I write (2): a modern sense of community 

  1. Prompts, Practice, Writer’s Guilds, Critique Groups. Interaction with other writers is what spurs me on. I recognized that I will not write if I am an island, only to myself. I try to immerse myself in the writing community.
    And Mr. X is correct. You are a wonderful writer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bird by bird, Susie. That’s all we can do. When we are compelled, born to write, we are helpless to resist. And when we release our words to the world, we make it possible to reach, teach, and learn from others. Richard Hugo says, “An act of imagination is an act of self-acceptance.” Beautiful post.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Tide is a good way to describe it as there’ll always be ebbs and flows. Follow your heart and continue to touch souls and you’ll be fine. I don’t want to make you cry again so I won’t tell you what a wonderful writer you are. 🙂
    Cheers ~

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t think you have writer’s block, I believe that you have “Mummy is investing her energy on growing new baby inside her” syndrome. Enjoy those precious moments feeling your baby growing inside you. Take the time to connect with this growing life within you, which will be 1 of your most miraculous creations. All else will follow. Blessings Joy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Joy. You are totally right. I’m having a bit of a “oh my goodness where have the last seven months gone, I’m so not mentally prepared for this” moment! Away on holiday this week & so hoping to reconnect with myself a bit and enjoy the (self-imposed) pressure being off. Best wishes and thanks for reading, Susie x

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  5. What a wonderful email to receive! What a lovely guy to write it too – lots of people may think that but it’s a special thing to go the extra mile and reach out to a stranger like that. We should all do it more often really – imagine the smiles we could put on people’s faces! Anyway, I can relate to a lot of this post – all part of the creative process I think – the introspection, the outpouring, the blocks. Oooh and congrats on the birth of your son! (I noticed this post was from august so had a look to see if you’d given birth yet). Funnily enough, I found I was very creative after the birth of my third – perhaps because I was sleeping so little so there were more hours in the day and also I was a bit mad with the sleep deprivation so had no filter – it all came pouring out! Thanks for linking to #whatImWriting. xx

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    • Thank you for the well wishes. I’m loving this linky & the people participating and have loads of back posts to share on the art of writing and introspection – haha! Yes, blogging has revolutionised night feeds this time around. Hoping to flex my creative muscles as much as possible this time around. A real game changer to my psyche. Thanks for reading!

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  6. It sounds like the sort of self doubt most writers suffer from, ‘will it ever be good enough?’ ‘What is good enough?’ But we don’t know so we keep going anyway because we love it don’t we?!

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  7. What a lovely email to receive! And no wonder you are (were?) feeling blue with hormones raging and a growing baby on its way! I hope you’re feeling more positive now and if not, will soon be as these ups and downs are all part of the creative process aren’t they (I think you recently said something similar to me!). I hope you’re getting all the rest you need, when you need it, too. xx

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  8. What a fab email to receive! It sounds like there’s a lot going on in your life at the moment, so of course there’ll be ups and downs and distractions and self-doubt. Look to the long-term; this period will be fleeting. Sending you best wishes and encouragement to keep on writing in between all the hectic family times!

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  9. Sounds like a wonderful email – and it really does make it all worthwhile, no? It is a constant rollercoaster though – writing generally, and especially when trying to juggle it with motherhood. We’re thinking about trying for a second child but I’m just terrified of losing the precarious balance I feel like I’ve only just managed to achieve. I guess ultimately we just have to keep on going on. And we’ll get there in the end – wherever ‘there’ is meant to be… x

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    • Thanks for your wise words Sophie. Currently up doing a night feed with number 2 (3 weeks old). I too am/was afraid of losing my routine but I’m coming to accept that I’m having to shift focus from grand ideas of novel writing on to smaller goals on my blog and short stories/flash fiction. Must try and live it rather than wishing it away, although my stream of consciousness always seems to drag me down the rapids! Thanks for reading x

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